Problems With Dental Insurance Plans

••• Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Dental insurance plans assist people with paying for the costs of dental services. However, since many dental insurance plans only cover 50 percent of the dental care costs, consumers must carefully weigh a plan's benefits with its costs. By understanding some of the common problems with dental insurance, a consumer can determine whether a specific dental insurance plan will meet her needs.

Premium Cost

The premium cost of dental insurance varies widely, depending on the specific coverage provided by the policy. Consumers should look back at their total dental spending for the past year and compare that against the yearly cost of the dental insurance premium for the policy under consideration. Consumers should also consider factors -- such as needed dental work -- when making a purchasing decision about dental insurance.

Limited Coverage

Many consumers seek to buy dental insurance when they have a pressing need for dental work. However, many dental insurance policies limit the amount of coverage during the first year the policy is in place. For example, a policy may pay 50 percent of the costs of some services, but it will only pay 20 percent for these services during the first year. Consumers should carefully review the documentation provided with the insurance plan to determine what limitations are initially in place. Even beyond the first year, dental insurance plan coverage amounts will vary greatly. Consumers should determine how much the policy will pay for a variety of services to determine how much benefit they will receive from the coverage.

Benefit Amount

Not only must consumers consider the amount of coverage that a dental insurance policy provides for specific services, but they must also consider the total benefit amount covered by the policy. Certain dental procedures are quite expensive, and a consumer can easily exceed the annual benefit amount that the policy covers. Consumers should carefully consider the cost of the premiums versus the benefit amount caps that the policy provides. Family dental plans may have both a cap for benefits per person and per family. Benefit amounts may have a lower cap during the first year the policy is in place.

Provider Choice

Another key factor in the decision whether to buy dental insurance is the participation of dentists in the local area. Before purchasing a dental plan, the insurance company should provide consumers with a list of participating dentists and other dental professionals. Someone who plans to keep her current dentist will have to pick an insurance plan accepted by the dentist. Those without a preferred dentist will want to make certain that some local dentists accept the coverage before purchasing the policy.